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73% of workers want a 4-day week

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Nearly half of workers done expect employers to make the change

With 70 UK companies trialling a four-day working week trial, research from recruitment agency, Aspire has shown that 73% of the workforce would be keen to move to a four-day week, but 45.2% don’t think that their employer will make the transition

The survey of over 800 candidates from various industries – including marketing, sales, technology, and the creative industries – explored the key trends impacting the world of work in 2022.

The four-day working week pilot project involves over 3,300 workers across 70 companies reducing working hours without any change in salary. The shortened working week is being suggested as a solution to the UK’s productivity problem, contributing to the UK’s net-zero targets and working towards a better work-life balance for employees.

The research showed that only 14.2% are confident, and only 10.7% are very confident that their employer will transition to a four-day working week in the future. In comparison, 45.2% of workers have no confidence or doubt that employers will make the change. A further 29.9% of respondents are unsure.

Paul Farrer, Chairman, and Founder of Aspire, commented: “It’s no surprise that workers want to receive five days’ pay for four days’ work. The question is, can they be as or more productive? This pilot scheme will make interesting reading. Naturally, not all jobs can as productive when one day a week is lost, particularly manual work. So the four day week risks creating a two-speed country. Those paid or charging by the hour will be challenged as to how they could make it work.”

“Personally, I’m sceptical. The early responses of those trialling a four day week found that employees get more rest, but our own research shows that 28% already have a side hustle, with a further 20% intending to create one. What’s more, most employees would like to work on this full time in due course. This leaves employers potentially paying to lose their employees.”

“In the current competitive jobs market, a shorter working week has obvious appeal, but it also poses huge risks – the biggest of which is actually trialling it. After the initial honeymoon period of increased activity, businesses must consider how they would address a potential productivity decline. How do you revert back to a five day week? The pilot will be interesting when four day week companies are measured against their five day competitors. I know of one company that has operated a four day week since January and they are witnessing increased productivity. Taken at face value it proves the concept works, but when compared to their competitors they have fallen behind.”

“Given the appetite for a four day week, it could be decisive when it comes to attracting talent and retaining staff. But where it might offer an advantage in recruitment and employee wellbeing when the economy is growing, employers must carefully consider if it will deliver a commercial advantage and work logistically in the long run.”

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